In addition to being a homeschool mom, I serve as the “Organizational Director” of the household. That means I’m taxiing kids from place to place, planning and preparing meals, and scheduling appointments. There’s no need to explain any further. You already know what I’m talking about!
Staying on top of everyone and everything can be a big challenge. I use Google Calendar to make sure I don’t miss an appointment, meeting, task, or deadline. Here are six ways Google Calendar helps me stay organized throughout the school year and beyond.
1. Use Multiple Calendars: Everything in One Place
I maintain my own personal calendar, but I need to keep track of everyone else’s calendar as well. Google Calendar allows me to create multiple calendars, but conveniently displays them all in in one place. I’ve created a calendar for each one of my family members and have taken this idea one step further by creating additional calendars with various titles. Here are a few of the calendars I’ve set up:
- Homeschooling: This calendar is reserved for general homeschool activities such as co-op, literature circles, and the English classes I teach to other homeschool students.
- Church: This calendar is where I write down church activities such as Bible studies and youth groups.
- Business: This calendar is used to track business related appointments and writing deadlines.
- Menu Plan: This calendar shows the meals I’ve planned for the week. (This makes creating a grocery list super simple and ensures we don’t eat the same meals over and over again.)
- Health: I use this calendar to track my weight, exercise routine, and menstrual cycle.
- Time Block: I use this calendar to set aside a specific block of time dedicated to working on a specific tasks such as menu planning, creating lessons plans, or writing.
2. Use Color Coded Calendars: At a Glance Organization
Because I’m tracking many different activities and events, my calendar could easily become a cluttered mess. The best way I’ve found to combat calendar clutter is by using a color coding system.
I’ve assigned a specific color to each of the calendars I mentioned above (Red = Personal, Dark Blue = Husband, Green = Church, Orange = Homeschooling, Menu Plan = Light Blue, and three additional colors for each one of my girls, etc). When I take a glance at my calendar, the color of the event immediately lets me know who or what I’m dealing with. I can then tap on the event to get further information.
3. Use Tasks: Don’t Miss Anything
I also use Google Calendar to remind me of my tasks. My credit card payment is set up as a recurring monthly task, but I also add other impromptu tasks to the calendar as well (return Virginia’s phone call, schedule orthodontist appointment, write letter of recommendation for Nikki, order jazz shoes, etc).
To keep my tasks organized and easily recognized, I’ve also assigned a single color to tasks. In addition, I set up tasks as all day reminders so they’ll remain at the top of the calendar day. Once the task is finished, I mark it as completed.
4. Use Event Notification Times: Leave and Get There on Time
I get busy (and honestly…sometimes I just forget!), so I need to be reminded about events in advance. Well in advance. I’ve set my notifications 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 15 minutes prior to an event. That gives me plenty of advanced notice about an upcoming appointment or event. If those times don’t work for you, Google Calendar allows you to set up specific notification times that will meet your needs.
5. Use The Daily Agenda: An Email Secretary
The Daily Agenda is my FAVORITE Google Calendar feature! Within the settings, you can opt to have Google email a Daily Agenda that shows all the events scheduled for the day. Select as many different calendars as you wish; the daily agenda email will show them all in one single email. The Daily Agenda hits my inbox at 5:30 am each morning, so it’s ready for me to review after I wake.
6. Use Imported Calendars: Additional Information
You can create your own calendars, but Google has additional calendars you may wish to use. You can browse other calendars of interest and add them as well. These include holiday, religious, and sports calendars. (I’ve added the Philadelphia Eagles football schedule to my calendar so I know what time games start and whether they’re home or away.) You can even color code these additional calendars.
Google Calendar is a great tool for the busy homeschool mom! Check it out and see if you can use these suggestions to make your life better organized!